Canopus Station
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Behind Closed Doors

Posted on Sat Feb 15th, 2020 @ 1:59am by Captain Benjamin Ingram Dr & Lieutenant Commander Mara Ricci & Lieutenant Commander Meilin Jiang & Lieutenant Commander Amie Cerys & Senior Chief Petty Officer Sharona Deluna

Mission: S2:1: Into The Drowning Deeps
Location: Canopus Station, Admin Block, Conference Room A
Timeline: MD3 12.15

The arrival of the 4th M4 Expedition Group had not gone unnoticed by the station's personnel. Nor the fact that it was a significantly larger group than expected. What was most apparent to those assembled in the main conference room of Canopus Station was Ingram's higher than usual levels of irritation. Maybe it was the unexpected nature of the visit? Could also be the fact that he had been given an order like some lowly Ensign fresh out of boot camp.

"What does Starfleet Command think running roughshod over us like this?" Ingram said, replacing the apparent 'me' with 'us' as a nice touch of human-like solidarity. "We're hardly in a position to support these many vessels without significant resources. Fuel bunkerage, weapons reloads, even the recreation facilities of the Medina have only just begun to spin up."

He looked to the chronometer on the wall.

"And Commodore Grissom is running late," he grumbled. "The mans in charge of an entire OSI Task Force, you'd think he'd be punctual."

Amie couldn't help but smirk at Ingram's comment. "Honestly, Captain? I've not known a one of them to ever be on time. Well, maybe once?"

"Really?" said Mara, feigning surprise. "How astonishing."

"It is a power play," Meilin said quietly yet unmoved, "because this commodore envisions himself a man of power. Allow him his posturing, for it is little more than that."

Aimee was spinning in circles in her chair because, well, the Counselor was bored out of her mind having been called to this meeting. She had listened to what the Captain had said and continued to spin in her chair regardless. She hated the conference room chairs because if she had them up high she couldn't touch the floor... Too low and her head barely broke over the surface of the table.

Before Ingram could reply the door to the conference room opened, and Commodore Grissom and his staff trooped in. The man travelled with an impressive array of staff ranging from security to medical, with a few science officers sprinkled into the mix. But for a Commodore in the Office of Special Investigations that was to be expected. He smiled warmly at the Canopus Station crew as his staff took their seats on the opposite side of the table.

Even with the Canopus Station staff wearing the regulation white shoulder boards of station service, as opposed to the black of Grissom's task force staff, the division was clear as day.

"Commander O'Toole," Grissom asked, looking over his shoulder at the blocky red-haired human with a gold security collar. "Ensure the room is sealed please?"

O'Toole took a small black cube from his pocket and placed it on the table. Ingram recognised the device, as he had one for his own personal use in his desk draw in his office. As soon as it was placed on the table O'toole tapped it, and every combadge in the room let out the tripple tone of a lost connection. Even the wall display showing a holographic view of the docking space flickered off, reverting to grey inert matter.

"Room's sealed Sir," O'Toole reported.

"Excellent. My apologies to everyone if you were hoping to use local abstraction or data entry during this meeting, but for reason that will become clear this briefing is to be held in a sealed box. No digital records are to be kept, and no information from his briefing is to be shared outside of a similar secured space. Entry into your logs of anything you are told during this briefing will be considered grounds for the formation of an Admiralty Board of Enquiry." Grissom made a gesture with one hand, and a young man in command red stepped forward and from an attache case he carried began to hand out plastic folders of hard copy.

"I hope you can all read Federation Standard. If not I've taken the liberty of having hard copies created in Andorian, Chechoslvakian and Mandarin," Grissom said with a smile as he leaning against the table. "Though I assure you the material within is pretty self-explanatory"

Starfleet Office Of Special Investigations
Operation Clover
Paris Event Incident Report
May 5th 2389

"I'll give you all a moment," Grissom said.

Mara read the information over twice- once speed reading which is what she normally did in briefings, and the second time more carefully, the furrow of her brow deepening the farther she went. “So....” she said, confused. “What does it do? Or did I somehow miss that?”

"You missed nearly everything, but that's not your fault. SFI missed it, and Homeworld Security in Sol missed it as well. They were focused on the threat of what we in the OSI have come to call 'Devices', machines of unknown origin and function whose terminal activation seem to be destructive or disruptive in nature. Device B was a theorised foam phase hydrogen weapon, no explosive or interactive component just forty millilitres of compressed metallic hydrogen. Device B took out an entire SFI Hazard Team and most of Starbase 45. Device A turned off every fusion reactor on Trillius Prime for forty-eight hours before it was found, and turned off. The egg heads in the OSI have had no success making heads or tails of it, and I'll be releasing what files I have to you given your prior experiance with advanced alien technology," Grissom said, and looked at Ingram with a wry smile and wagged a finger at Mara. "Twenty four hours Ingram, you beat me to her by that. If I'd been a little faster off the starting block I'd have had her in the OSI helping track these things instead of out here on your expedition."

"Luck of the draw one supposes," Ingram said with a thin smile.

Mara felt herself blushing. OSI wanted her? She couldn't decide which was more exciting- where she was or where she could have been.

"True, very true indeed. But Chief Ricci, the focus of my attention is not on the Devices but who is supplying them. During the apprehension of Hass in Paris, she displayed above normal reaction time, physical strength, and other abilities not commonly associated with Bolians. Glowing orange eyes and desire to monologue, not to mention blow up half a block of old Paris in a fit of pique. We have had reports, unsubstantiated, that the Myriad are actively engaged in destabilising the politics of major Alpha Quadrant powers. We saw this before in the Dominion War with the Changelings, but this is not something that changes at will. It is a created being inhabited by a mind that originated here, in Messier 4." Grissom explained. "My presence here should be self-explanatory in that light."

Meilin raised a hand. "I beg your pardon, Commodore Grissom," she said, bowing lightly with her right hand enfolded in the left. "But how is it that a mind from Messier 4 created and inhabited a Bolian body?"

Amie read over the information...more than a few times, and sat back. "Okay, this is a new one. I've been on some interesting investigations but this takes the cake." She didn't say much more, as she wanted to hear the input from the others.

Sharona read the file and then looked over at Amie. "Holo presence and Project Long Jump technology is the only way," she said.

Aimee stared at the Commodore for a moment after having read the information that had been provided and after having finally quit her incessant twirling. "I see," The girl said with her arms crossed over her chest and a strange smile on her face. "So not being one to shy away from the theory of strange science and the unknown, but pure mind control? The ability to submit an entire mind and body that's well hive controlled? That all seems a bit far-fetched to me and I'm stuck looking like a thirteen-year-old girl and, possibly immortal too because of my condition."

"And don't think for a second that your assignment here was a mistake JayGee Paulsen. The OSI has a file on you, and potentially will always have a file and eye on you during your lifetime," Grissom smiled. "But allow me to answer your questions as they came."

"We believe that from passive scans obtained of the Myriad agent known as Abborax, the one that attacked the USS Traveller nearly a year ago, that Hass was not a Bolian but a Myriad Proxie. The OSI has access to some very experimental forensic technologies, and we were able to determine that when half a block of Paris real estate went up in smokes, no Bolian bought the farm there. What we did find were traces of a Synthetic life form, but made of an unknown neutronium based alloy the science teams back in the AQ have not been able to replicate. Though the passive scans of Abborax and the forensic data from Hass's remains strongly suggest common manufacture."

"From what debriefing info we've been able to glean from the crew of the Traveller and other Intel sources in M4, the Myriad project their digitised consciences into Proxy bodies to interact with their vassal races or with potential new clients. So far we've only witnessed them do this with one of their ships in close proximity acting as a transmitter. With that in mind, OSI Task Force Morrigan is currently preforming a sector by sector sweep of near Sol space up to the theoretical limit of null subspace transmission lag, to cover us if a Myriad thorn ship or similar vehicle has made the crossing back into the Milky Way,"

He closed his file and placed both hands on the conference tables surface.

"OSI Task Force Hecate, of which I am in command, is tasked with establishing whether or not the Myriad have a means of transmitting or travelling back into the Milky Way from the Messier 4 side. Project Long Jump was designed to operate on the idea that the Expeditions would be able to build their own Phase Space Accelerator on this side, but as we know that is at least two years away. My orders are to find this means of ingress, and either treat with the Myriad to halt their activities or pursue more direct action," Commodore Grissom said gravely. "Make no mistake here, this is not a step the Federation Council or Starfleet Command takes lightly. But the Myriad are a clear threat in light of Operation Clover, and I will expect your full support. Any questions?"

Aimee didn't really have any questions after the explanation and then, she had several questions but no clue where to really begin. She hesitated and chose to remain silent. At least the Commodore had admitted to her that Starfleet had been keeping tabs on her and given the latest article from the Federation News Service it sounded to her like there were lots of people who were doing so as well.

Meilin stood stock-still as she processed the information. This was potentially catastrophic. "We need ways of scanning for these Proxies," she said at length. "Metallurgical analysis, remote network detection, there must be some exploitable vulnerability."

"Nice to see your time in SecTac left an impression," Grissom grinned at Meilin. "Starfleet's best mad scientists have been working on a means of detection, but given the Myriad's innate computational abilities that does limit us. We lack data, and what data we do have is worrying to say the least. In our first direct encounter with a Myriad, an entire Starfleet ship was commandeered with little apparent effort and used to shoot down a civilian colony ship. To that end engineers from the Wisdom Like Silence will be installing a new ECM suite into all mission-critical craft. R&D think it will help counter, or slow down Myriad control long enough to make a difference. This should bring our computational disadvantage to parity with the Myriad."

So minds of a highly intelligent terrorist organisation were beaming themselves into mass-produced high tech bodies and causing havoc back in the Milky Way? Murray took this in, quietly from the sidelines as he luxuriated for a moment at his position within the literal inner circle. He was - amazingly - within a sealed room being fed extremely sensitive intelligence information right from the source department. This. Was. Awesome.

"Do you believe that these bodies are constructed on the Messier 4 side or the Milky Way side?" He asked. "Or both? What's the currently known range of transmission from a ship - what do you consider to be 'close range' in this case exactly?" And then Murray led to his second level question. "Also - I'm curious - this digitised consciousness that you speak of, could it not be travelling via your existing means, unbenownst to yourselves? Given that, as I understand it from what you're saying, you've encountered their clearly superior-tech when they've hacked your systems, do you have any means now to detect their signature?"

"That is what we're here to learn. From what the Science teams back home tell me the tech to build that advanced a Synthetic body does not exist, not even in theory. So either the Myriad have gotten a ship with fabrication facilities through to the home stars, or they have a partner who they have given that tech to. Both are worrying, and the latter is being investigated in a joint OSI/SFI project called Operation Blunderbuss," Grissom looked at Murray, seeming to notice the lack of a uniform. "And you are...?"

"This is Dr Jacobs, he's running our more off the books medical research here on Canopus Station in regards to a pathologic contagion we've run into. Civilian workforce, but his credential get him a seat at this table under my aegis," Ingram interjected.

"I'd have preferred to keep this in the family Ben," Grissom said with a note of cold to his words.

"Dr. Ingram. And out here we are all that we have, we PhD's have to stick together don't you know?" Ingram deflected.

"Well, I'm not here to tell you how to run your house of cards Dr Ingram," Grissom said levelly. "Though I will be transferring my flag to Canopus Station, to begin theatre wide operations with this facility acting as my headquarters. Day to day operations of this Station and its locality will remain in your care, to within certain limits. Now my Flag Lieutenant, Mister Chu, will liaise with your Yeoman concerning the logistics of turning Canopus Station into a major staging post for ongoing Task Force operations. We'll need to focus all energies on spinning up resource collection and manufacturing of the Pollux Shipyards to act as a support structure-"

"Wait, hold on," Ingram said and held up a hand. "This sounds very much like you are taking over my Station."

"Sign on side of the docking bay says she's bought and paid for by the fine taxpayers of the UFP."

"As a scientific and administrative outpost on the furthest edge of the Hard Data Frontier. We're not some port-a-cabin Warden class Starbase thrown up over a long weekend," Ingram refuted.

"All correct, and those missions will continue at a slightly diminished capacity within the guidelines my staff will be outlining in the next few days," Grissom looked around the table. "I have the feeling a lot of you are used to doing things your way because out here it works. And that was the status quo as of yesterday. Today you rejoin Starfleet proper, and I expect every man and woman here to do their part in defending our great nation. Unless, of course, anyone has any objections?"

Sitting back and crossing her arms, Amie was a little annoyed with all of this. Granted, she hadn't been here long, but had enjoyed her work down in the brig...and the sushi. "I suppose not, sir," she finally stated.

Meilin pointedly avoided eye contact with Ingram and fought back a smirk. Good and evil had been out of balance for too long, but now that balance was returning. "We remain Starfleet, Commodore, and we remain at your service."

Mara shrugged. As long as they let her do her job, she didn't care what else she had to do. "I'm in," she said, setting her PADD on the table before her.

He said nothing, simply kept a neutral expression on his face and contemplated this development internally. Way Murray figured it, this was bad news, but he knew about it up front rather than from any sneaking about and that made it dealable with. He'd need to bring Bossa up to speed at his earliest convenience.

"Excellent," Grissom said with a smile. He made a gesture to the data scrubbing cube, and O'Toole stepped forward and deactivated it. Combadges chirped with connection notifications and the wall screen flickered back to showcasing the hard-working docks of Canopus Station. "Now that we have that over with, we can move onto more generalised topics."

"Generalized topics?" Aimee asked the Commodore as she sat there having spent the last several minutes listening to Ingram and the Commodore trade commentary back and forth. She had resisted the urge to smirk when Ingram insisted on being referred to by his title and immediately knew why Bar'soon had been welcomed aboard... It was clearly the ridiculously long and mundane title.

"Yes," Grissom said. "Commander O'Toole, I think you had a safety briefing you wanted to everyone to watch? The dangers of lenient personnel access or some such?"


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